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Learning From a Bad Hire

Question: What’s the \r\nbiggest mistake you’ve made so far? 

Andrew Goetz: We \r\nhired somebody to help us with the business that was just. You know when\r\n you say you should listen to your instincts? We were feeling like we \r\nwere, I don’t want to say overwhelmed, but we needed a consultant for \r\nsomething and knew we needed a consultant, but we weren’t really sure \r\nhow to address it. And somebody had recommended somebody and we both \r\nfelt... you know there was something off and then it turned out to be \r\nvery,\r\n very off. I’ll look at it that it was a learning experience and it \r\ncould have been a lot worse and you know we caught it at the beginning \r\nand now it’s almost done, but… 

Matthew Malin: It’s the \r\nnewest mistake. I guess maybe it is the biggest. 

Andrew Goetz:\r\n I think it was the worst mistake. 

Matthew Malin: I \r\nguess, maybe. 

Andrew Goetz: Yeah, because he was toxic. I\r\n mean that was the worst. It was just someone who lied and cheated \r\nand... \r\nit happens. I mean, it’s human nature and … 

Matthew Malin:\r\n We’ve made a lot of mistakes, but nothing big or bad. 

Andrew\r\n Goetz: Yeah, I mean we usually catch them. The good news is when \r\nyou’re relatively small all your mistakes are relatively small as well, \r\nand when you’re big they can be colossal. And so as a young, very supple\r\n \r\ncompany we can recover from them. But everyone makes mistakes. I think \r\nthe real question is do you make the same mistake twice?  

Question:\r\n What’s the secret to hiring? 

Andrew Goetz: I think \r\nyour gut is important. 

Matthew Malin: No, I don’t think \r\nso. 

Andrew Goetz: I think we probably should have done \r\nmore due diligence. I think it was just we were the business was moving \r\nvery, very fast and frantically. We know we needed somebody and we were \r\nlike all right, "Let’s just do it."

Matthew Malin: We’ve \r\nhad hires that have been sort of gut responses, which have been great \r\nand others that have not. And we’ve had other hires that weren’t \r\nnecessarily a gut response, but they were hired nonetheless and again, \r\nterrific ones; where we weren’t necessarily it wasn’t the first choice. 

Andrew\r\n\r\n Goetz: The lesson is after two, three weeks we probably should have\r\n reacted more quickly than we actually did. 

Matthew Malin:\r\n For a company of our size the thing that I think is most crucial in \r\nterms of what we do is hiring somebody that culturally is a good fit and\r\n if they’re smart and they fill the position in a manner for which they \r\nhave experience or we feel is appropriate, et cetera, et cetera. Having \r\nthe cultural fit and the passion for the business is probably the \r\nbiggest hurdle because we’re only 20 people of which 10 of those are \r\nworking sort of right out of our office in New York City. I think that’s\r\n the most crucial aspect of where we are for this size today.

Recorded on March 19, 2010

Should staffing decisions come from the gut? It’s debatable.

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